Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, a known critic of President Vladimir Putin, received his third jail sentence of the year Monday.
Navalny’s supporters claim he was detained for attempting to organize a rally Friday in a city east of Moscow. Authorities said he had no permission to hold the event and he was sentenced to serve 20 days in jail. The sentence means he will miss a protest on Putin’s birthday Saturday in the president’s hometown of St. Petersburg.
“20 days in jail. Old man Putin got so scared of our rallies in the regions and decided to make himself a little present for himself for his birthday,” Navalny said in a tweet after receiving his sentence.
Leonid Volkov, a close associate to Navalny, received the same sentence and threatened to go on a hunger strike, according to BBC.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned people Monday that unauthorized rallies will have consequences for the people responsible.
“Public calls for unsanctioned events and rallies run counter to the legislation in force and, certainly, their organizers will be prosecuted,” Peskov told reporters, Reuters reports.
Putin is expected to win a fourth term in office in March’s presidential election. A five-year suspended embezzlement sentence makes Navalny ineligible for the presidency. (RELATED: Russian Opposition Leader Banned From Running Against Putin)
Navalny and his business partner allegedly misappropriated around $500,000 worth of lumber from a state-owned company, according to a 2013 ruling. Navalny claims the case was fabricated to stop him from advancing his political career.
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